Nomadic Pastoralist Confederacies in the Southern Lands of the Continent

Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:30 PM
Room 203 (Colorado Convention Center)
Geraldine Davies Lenoble, Georgetown University

By mid-19th century, indigenous people in the southern lands of the Continent constructed powerful multiethnic confederacies based on a nomadic pastoralist economy that defied the emerging agro-export nations of Chile and Argentina. Although local historians had explored the political aspect of these confederacies, less attention has been paid to the role of nomadic pastoralism in favoring political scale-up processes. By examining the economic structures and strategies of the confederacies of cacicatos lead by Calfucurá in the Pampas and Saygüeque in Northern Patagonia, and exploring possible comparative cases in the Araucanِía, I intend to show how these economies presented efficient ways to exploit their territories considering the particular contexts and technologies enviable in the 19th century. I will compare the confederacies’ use of their territories, animals, resources, labor and trade networks as well as the economic policies they set with competing sedentary societies in frontier regions. This paper aims at showing that indigenous people found in expanding their nomadic pastoralist economies an important way to empower in the eve of industrial capitalism and nation-states.

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